Conversations With My Breast Pump & Other Postpartum Tales

I only have two regrets about telling my postpartum horror story on Episode 11 of  ‘Storytime Hour with Erica & Jolenta

1)    I failed to mention the messages my friends Paul and Rick left on my answering machine to and from my breast pump, respectively.

2)    I didn’t read the following email I received from another dear friend while I was in the depths of my postpartum despair:

Hey Cynthia,

I am so sorry to hear that you are dealing with all of that, but I can tell you with absolute honesty that I understand what you’re going thru (except for that whole unfortunate kitchen fiasco–that’s just adding insult to injury…).

If it’s any consolation, I too had HORRIBLE milk supply problems.  Sara was screaming nonstop and was totally inconsolable.  I knew that my c-section would delay my milk production, but I was unprepared for how tense the wailing baby would make me!  Whether I was nursing or pumping, I felt like my boobs were on duty 24-7 for the first month.  Sara screamed so much and for so long that we finally relented and gave her formula (which the lactation consultants made me feel like shit for doing).  Long story short, my milk supply took a couple of months to really be effective and so Sara always got a bottle of formula each day to supplement my breast milk.  I beat the crap out of myself for not being able to nurse exclusively and it took MONTHS for me to forgive myself and accept it.  (I’m NOT suggesting that you should supplement with formula–that is ENTIRELY up to you.  However, don’t let the Nipple Nazis make you feel like less of a woman if your supply isn’t up to par.  Shit happens and Sadie is going to thrive no matter what.)

I don’t know if you’re dealing with any of this or not, but I had a pretty wicked case of the baby blues.  I always thought that postpartum depression would manifest itself in freaky and obvious ways like wanting to shake the baby or crying all the time, but that’s not how it was for me.  In retrospect, it’s totally obvious to me that I was a basket case, but at the time I was desperately trying to hold it all together.  Not only did I feel like I might have made a HORRIBLE mistake in choosing to have a baby, but I felt additional guilt that it was MY idea and now I’d ruined my husband’s life too.  I actually thought that maybe I should “do him a favor” and divorce him so he didn’t have to suffer the consequences of MY dumbass idea.  Once you add in the healing problems I had with my incision and the outrageous hemorrhoids I had from pushing for 2.5 hours, I was a full-on disaster.

I’m sure this e-mail seems like it’s all about me, but please know that I’m sharing this in the spirit of sisterhood and solidarity.  I have been there. It sucked ass.  And I can tell you from experience that it will get better. I know you know this, but it never hurts to reiterate!  When the dust clears, you guys will start to get some sleep, Sadie will fall into a more regular routine, the breastfeeding thing will work itself out, you will fit into your favorite jeans and you guys will start to get your life back. Until then, try to keep your sense of humor–that’s the only thing that will get you guys through to the other side.  You’re almost there!

Call or write anytime if you need to vent.

Other than those two omissions, I have no regrets.  Hope you’ll give it a listen!

P.S.  Here’s a visual to look at while you’re listening.  This is my kitchen, three weeks after my daughter was born.

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - Conversations With My Breast Pump & Other Postpartum Tales